We’re hopping mad. Not at you! At the U.S. government.
We YOU Docs are steamed because American lawmakers have been siphoning money out of quit-smoking programs for years, letting progress stall out.
It makes no sense.
Not only could stamping out tobacco save the tens of thousands of lives still being lost to tobacco-triggered lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and more, but kicking butts the right way could save the U.S. at least $70 billion a year, says a new report Dr. Mike just helped write. No country can afford that!
When Dr. Mike ran the numbers with his colleague Michael P. O’Donnell, MBA, MPH, PhD (editor of the American Journal of Health Promotion), they discovered that the government and most American businesses — from giant corporations to garage startups — are missing a huge opportunity to refuel the economy by investing in two stop-the-madness strategies. All it takes:
1. Funding proven quit programs that focus on crave-stoppers and counselling.
This one-two punch against nicotine addiction gives smokers a 28 per cent chance of succeeding on the first try. Sure, cold turkey’s cheaper, but it fails 95 per cent of the time.
Anti-craving drugs (bupropion, varenicline) and nicotine replacement products (patches, gum) are a big help, but pairing these meds with individual or group counseling is 40 per cent more effective than drugs alone.
2. If you’re an employer, stop hiring smokers unless they quit. Plenty of employers already do this, including the Cleveland Clinic (where Dr. Mike works).
If all levels of government did, too, you’d be amazed at how fast we’d save people and dollars, and create jobs (yes, if we reduce medical costs, we become more competitive for jobs).
While some jurisdictions don’t allow this practice, look for it to spread as corporations get smarter (don’t count on politicians to).
It’s a great way to cut medical costs and protect other employees from “thirdhand smoke” — your exposure to the toxic tobacco byproducts ickily clinging to smokers’ clothes and hair.
It’s also a powerful incentive for job-hunters to put “quit smoking” as well as “write a killer resume” on their to-do lists.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. For more information, go to www.RealAge.com.